Today’s college students will be saddled with enormous debts from student loans, even as the job market means new graduates will be earning less – if they find a job at all.
To help students and other members of generation Y cope with debt and other financial responsibilities, youth-oriented cable network MTV and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation have unveiled a video game that "challenges young people to avoid destructive financial behavior," the organizations announced this week.
MTV’s 24-hour college network, called mtvU, is hoping to spread the embeddable online flash game Debt Ski in a way it seems the wired generation can understand – virally, through social networks and blogs. The college network is also promoting the game on-air and at mtvU’s Movies & Music Festival.
In the game, players must maneuver the game’s central character, Piggy Banks, through a series of obstacles to maximize his savings, limit his debt and maintain his level of happiness – all while making payments for necessities like housing and food.
Piggy Banks has the option to purchase discretionary items like electronics and clothing, which can boost his happiness but also plunge him deep into debt if not purchased in moderation.
Brian Haveri, a 26-year-old Lehigh University graduate from Scotch Plains, New Jersey, won $10,000 in the Indebted Digital Challenge for his video game concept, which served as the inspiration for Debt Ski.
The game is part of a broader Indebted campaign sponsored by the cable network and the foundation. The Peterson Foundation said it uses innovative means to reach younger Americans and make them aware of the threat that personal and government fiscal irresponsibility poses to their economic well-being.
In 2008, the foundation supported the feature documentary I.O.U.S.A., which was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award and short-listed for an Academy Award nomination.